UBS Closes Fancy Swiss Bank Accounts For American Tax Evaders

Recently, we told you that Senator Levin recommended that the UBS not patronize American citizens who are trying to evade taxes. His wish has come true–UBS has announced plans to close the Swiss bank accounts of such American customers and will lift the cloak of anonymity which has protected its customers for centuries. Details, inside..

The TimesOnline article says,

An investigation, whose report was issued yesterday, found that only 1,000 of UBS’s 20,000 American clients with Swiss bank accounts had declared their accounts to the IRS.

UBS will not hand over identities of all 19,000 of these customers because, sources say, it does not follow that every undeclared account has broken US tax law. Instead it will identify only those it believes may have engaged in tax fraud, although that number is expected to run into thousands.

Since the U.S. economy is failing at a record rate, we can understand why the U.S. Government is digging behind this centuries-old couch for extra money.

UBS closes Swiss accounts of US clients [TimesOnline]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. About damn time.

  2. basket548 says:

    This is largely because tax evasion is not a felony in Switzerland. Tax fraud, however, is. There’s nothing wrong with those laws; it’s just not what we in the States are used to.

    That being said, if any of the customers committed tax fraud (and there seems to be ample evidence that they did), then they, along with UBS, should be held to task.

    However, as the economic stimulus has proved, pumping money into the economy doesn’t really make a difference. Though this being Consumerist, maybe the govt will get enough money to make an Anti-Grocery-Shrink-Ray. Then we can get more hourly features on products being upsized.

  3. basket548 says:

    @basket548: That is, the economic stimulus tax rebate.

  4. HogwartsAlum says:

    Dang! Now what am I going to do when I win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes?

    ;)

  5. wgrune says:

    About time. It never ceases to amaze me at what lengths (up to and including felonies) the rich will go to to avoid paying the taxes they can obviously afford.

  6. snoop-blog says:

    @wgrune: Word.

  7. Wally East says:

    Amazing what some tough talk can get you.

  8. fermentsindarkness says:

    I guess this will flush billions of cash out of swiss banks. When you promise privacy and then bail on your promise you can expect almost a “run”

    I expect that banks on the Isle of Man and other countries with more consistant banking and privacy laws to really benefit from this.

    Funny how the Swiss banks will compromise their ‘banking principles’ when the long arm of the IRS is involved but they will not assist relatives of people murdered in the holocaust in recovering victims assets.

    Shame Shame Shame

  9. Parapraxis says:

    @HogwartsAlum:

    buy Ed Mcmahon his house back?

  10. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @fermentsindarkness: “Funny how the Swiss banks will compromise their ‘banking principles’ when the long arm of the IRS is involved but they will not assist relatives of people murdered in the holocaust in recovering victims assets.”

    This. Thank you for reminding everyone.

  11. petrarch1612 says:

    the US economy is falling at a record rate? actually its not that bad, but go ahead and just perpetuate lies.

  12. PunditGuy says:

    @petrarch1612: It is actually pretty bad, but still not that bad. You folk too young to remember the great “malaise” of 80-82 or the S&L crisis?

    Let’s not go too far down the “nation of whiners” path, though. There are a lot of people suffering right now, and it’s not in their heads.

  13. moore850 says:

    too bad all the tax evaders have accounts in the Cayman islands… the Swiss bank account went by the wayside back in the late 70’s, right?

  14. @wgrune:
    Exactly.

  15. Human947 says:

    Note most of the account holders did tell the irs about the accounts. If you have paid the taxes than what you do with your money within reason sould be private. If the banks in the United States did better privacy fewer would want to go over seas.

  16. @wgrune
    Sir … I find your views interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    @HogwartsAlum
    Pay you taxes! ;)

  17. pal003 says:

    Here’s to hoping that one of those UBS tax evaders is Phil Gramm – so we can hear him do some WHINING – from jail.

  18. TACP says:

    @petrarch1612: It’s a record rate if you’re 14 years old, maybe.

  19. HogwartsAlum says:

    @Parapraxis:

    Ha…good one. :)

    @TakingItSeriously:

    Believe me, I’ve got it all planned out. That’s the FIRST thing I would do!

  20. Oface says:

    Well crap. Where am I going to have my laundered money sent to?

  21. absentmindedjwc says:

    @Oface:

    China may work nicely. When it comes to… well, just about any kind of information requested by the US government, the normal response is “screw off”

    The accounts may not have a great interest rate, but you can be sure of confidentiality.

  22. SayAhh says:

    This is why all those FISA and wiretapping on terrorists (read: rich deadbeats) that Bush demanded so his administration can anonymously search through your banking and medical records (without warrant nor notice) needed to be passed without question nor delay, because otherwise the terrorists will have won. They JUST HAPPENED to notice that you weren’t paying your share of taxes under the guise of looking for a terrorist link: were you funding extremists, evading taxes, or just some good ol’ money laundering–without paying overdue kickbacks to your Congressmember? Wow, talk about a powerful collection agency! So anyway, why are still outsourcing tax form processing to India again? Oh yeah, to screw the not-so-rich people without fancy Swiss bank accounts…

  23. domo-arigato says:

    “…we can understand why the U.S. Government is digging behind this centuries-old couch for extra money.”

    Ha, good one!

  24. testingdude says:

    I’m not at all opposed to off-shore accounts for use with storing money that was made OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.

    That’s one thing that pisses me off about the IRS. They want your money PERIOD.

    That is, if I am an American citizen and make money OFF-SHORE and do not bring the money into the U.S. or otherwise bring goods that I purchased with said money into the U.S., the IRS still wants you to pay income taxes on that money.

    Does that make sense to anyone?

    I understand paying taxes on money that I earned in the U.S., but as far as I am concerned, any money that I make and keep OUTSIDE of the U.S. is OFF LIMITS to the I.R.S.

  25. upsidedownpaddle says:

    @testingdude: American troops get paid American dollars from American taxpayers to protect our American asses. Rich or poor. Anyone who doesn’t pay their taxes should forfeit their constitutional rights defended by the blood of American troops who are more often than not from the non-international banking class.

  26. agency says:

    @upsidedownpaddle: Yes, but an American abroad no longer enjoys American constitutional rights until he comes home. And should not have a reasonable expectation of protection by American troops while he’s working abroad in a different sovereign nation.

    On a related note, how much money does it cost to maintain the skeleton crew border patrol that protects us from Mexico, the US nuclear arsenal that protects us from every foreign army, the strong FBI that is supposed to protect us from strategic terrorist plots, the indadequate air marshals service that is supposed to protect us from airborne terrorist plots, the nonexistent NBC screening equipment to scan incoming seaport and airborne cargoes (some of which fly in passenger planes) for terrorist contraband, a good coast guard to make sure nothing is smuggled ashore via rogue boat, and a couple of fleets to protect Alaska and colonies like Guam and Puerto Rico? A couple dozen billions I imagine. As opposed to the trillions spent attacking random countries like Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and again Iraq, and I’m sure there’s a couple more I can’t remember right away. You talk about protection by American troops of expats. Well guess what: thy’re more likely to be bombed and crushed by American troops while abroad than “protected.”

  27. Lordstrom says:

    @upsidedownpaddle: There are more than enough taxes paid even without offshore accounts declared.

  28. xaqdesign says:

    good. They sould take that money from the people who have too much and have been hiding it from the IRS and who are involved in crooked stuff.

    I agree with testingdude though. I.R.S. = INTERNAL revenue service…Meaning what you make in any business venture on US soil.

  29. testingdude says:

    @upsidedownpaddle: no kidding.. I got paid American dollars during my 6 year tour…

    As I said.. I’m not opposed to paying taxes on money I make INSIDE THE U.S.A. or its territories. No problemo.

    I am apposed, however, to the IRS attempting to tax money that is not made, spent, or otherwise benefited from inside the USA or its territories.